140 Cover Image

If you’ve been listening for a while, you know I love to feature new and innovative ways to build tiny homes. Well, today, I’m featuring something that could be considered a very “old” way- Timber Framing! Clara and Edwin Bobrycki not only designed and built their timber frame tiny house- but they also cut down all the trees and milled the lumber for the entire frame. It’s no easy task, but Edwin and Clara will break it down for us so we can learn what it takes to build a timber framed tiny home.

In This Episode:

  • The basics of a timber-framed build and how they compare to modern builds
  • How does a mill work?
  • Wet wood, dry wood, burned wood, and dead trees: what to use and how it works
  • The raising of the build was a celebration
  • Attaching a timber-framed build onto a trailer and forming the floor
  • Living off-grid and the beginner's mistakes to avoid
  • How goats saved the property from the fires

Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Edwin and Clara Bobrycki

Edwin and Clara Bobrycki

Edwin and Clara decided to break from the norms modernity set out for them in 2015. They wanted to find another path apart from assuming large debts to get the life they wanted. Although the path wasn't easy or a shortcut by any means, they would have done it differently. They cut their own trees, milled their own wood, and carved their own beams to create an original timber-framed tiny home, that they could call truly their own. They now live nestled in the woods of Northern California, where they tackle new challenges they haven't seen before. Like managing their own power, growing food, and chasing off bears. A stark difference from when they were attending university in San Di


Edwin Bobrycki 0:00

We've we've had comments because some timber framers will see our home and they'll see like, our metal brackets. A true purist made some comments say like, I am deeply offended by the metal in your home.

Ethan Waldman 0:16

Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast The show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 140 with Clara and Edwin Bobrycki. If you've been listening for a while you know that I love to feature new and innovative ways to build tiny homes. Well, today I'm featuring something that could be considered a very old way to build a home: timber framing. Clara and Edwin Bobrycki not only designed and built their timber frame tiny house, they also cut down all the trees and milled the lumber for the entire frame. It's no easy task, but Edwin and Clara will break it down for us so that we can learn what it takes to build a timber framed tiny home. I hope you stick around.

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All right, I am here with Edwin and Clara Bobrycki. Edwin and Clara decided to break from the norms of modernity that were set out for them in 2015. They wanted to find another path apart from assuming a large debt to get the life they wanted. Although the path wasn't easy, or a shortcut by any means, they wouldn't have done it differently. They cut their own trees milled their own wood and carve their own beams to create an original timber framed tiny home that they could call truly their own. They now live nestled in the woods of Northern California, where they tackle new challenges they haven't seen before. Like managing their own power, growing food and chasing off bears. Edwin Clara, welcome to the show.

Clara Bobrycki 2:53

Hi, thanks for having us.

Ethan Waldman 2:54

You're so very welcome. I just want to compliment you first of all on just such a gorgeous tiny house build. It's so full of light. And the timber frame really just adds something really special and unique and awesome.

Clara Bobrycki 3:09

Thank you. Yeah, it was fun. It was a long build, but it was very fun to build.

Ethan Waldman 3:15

Well, why don't we just start with the real basics, because, you know, I love to let my listeners learn about different ways of building a tiny home. And, you know, I think timber frame is something that we hear kicked around a lot, but not everyone necessarily even knows what a timber frame is. So good. Could we start there and just say like, what is a timber frame?

Edwin Bobrycki 3:43

Yeah, I did not know what a timber frame was until I was exposed to it firsthand. And yeah, so essentially what a timber frame is, is it's, it's a more primitive way of building. So when you think of like a lot of the way, when people first settled in America and came over, like, what were the structures they were building, most often they were actually building timber frame structures. So what what we see today is like stud framing, right? You see, he has a bunch of two by fours and you make your wall, and then you stand up your wall. Well, with timber framing, you're actually starting with big beams, and you carve pockets into the beams and then you you carve corresponding tenons into other beams that slip into those pockets. So then you end up fitting these beams together like a blocks of Legos almost. And then what keeps them together is you drill a hole through the pocket and the tenon and you drive a peg a wooden peg through there too. And so even though it was considered you know, it's considered primitive style nowadays, because hardly anybody uses it because it's not very practical to build that way you don't it's not as fast as it's considered more you know, pretty and exotic. We're not used to seeing it anymore.

Ethan Waldman 5:04

Right? Yeah. And it does call to mind like old cabins or like I think of like a ski lodge with a big vaulted ceiling and timber frame. Yeah. Yeah. So it sounds like you not only you basically don't use any fasteners you you basically are fabricating your own fasteners out of wood to hold the whole structure together.

Edwin Bobrycki 5:33

Yes, so with, like, a true, purist, timber framer, like some some, we've, we've had comments, because some timber framers will see our home and they'll see like, our metal brackets that have some, you know, big, heavy bolts through them. And they're like, I think we had one person comments, say, like, I am deeply offended by the metal in your home. We're not where we didn't go full, full true. But I mean, the, the hammer beams and everything. I mean, the majority of it is true. timberframe in the sense that yeah, it's only held together with the wooden pegs. And I think the true testament to whether or not it was a true timber frame, or not, is how much you suffered. And I think the suffering level was, you know, very, very high. So I think we can like honestly claim like, no, this is a true timber frame, like we have evidence, look how much we suffered trying to build.

Ethan Waldman 6:34

I apologize. It sounds like you've you like stumbled into another group of purists. Because there are definitely like tiny house purists that will decide like, a certain size equals a tiny home or, you know, it has to be on wheels, or it has to be this or that. And you've got also so there are purists there, now you got the timberframe purists, so you just can't win. So is there when you're doing a timber frame, you know, like when when we stick frame, which I guess is the closest modern relative, you know, we'll frame 16 inches on center, or 20 inches on center, or 24 inches on center. Is there something like that in timber framing? Like you're trying to have a vertical stud? Or I guess that's not even what do you call those verticals? And do they have to be spaced a specific amount?

Edwin Bobrycki 7:29

Yeah, so totally actually, it, I think it actually, that really comes down to what your space you're trying to create. So the one of the there's a lot of advantages with timber framing, even though it's longer and harder to build, you can create very vast, big open rooms. So like one of the examples you brought up is like a ski lodge, when you walk into a ski lodge, you might see that, and yeah, you can create a lot of space, you know, you can create these, you know, high ceilings and lots of space. But then that needs to be engineered, like How big does your beam How big does your trust need to be for that? So typically, there's no one standard to follow that again, that's why stead framings more convenient, you can kind of just, you know, go go with a, you know, typical standard and get that for us, you know, we're clearly over built in here, we have more trusses than we need. And because we're novices, we were new when we took this on my, my instinct was, okay, let's go over build, because we don't have the experience to, you know, say where the line is. Exactly. So I'd rather overshoot, work a little harder, over build it, make sure it's a little on, you know, maybe it's over, you know, too strong, rather than not strong enough.

Ethan Waldman 8:44

Got it. So, how, how heavy is it compared to a stick frame? Is it heavier or lighter?

Clara Bobrycki 8:53

We did calculations as we were building and we kind of came to the conclusion that it was roughly the same. Yeah, besides, I mean, it was a little hard to keep like weight documented and everything. But when we were doing the calculations with the amount of studs we would have had to put in versus the cedar beams which - cedar beams are actually pretty light, comparatively. So that was a huge weight-saver. And we also because we were doing timber framing we were you able to use three by threes for other studs. So we're able to go lighter on the studs that we actually did use.

Edwin Bobrycki 9:31

Oh, you mean just for some of the framing for our viewers and stuff? Yeah, like we didn't stud frame between the bents so we actually just did singular beams that tied in from one end to the neck -

Clara Bobrycki 9:43

Mainly to do our doors.

Unknown Speaker 9:44

To put in our doors and windows.

Ethan Waldman 9:46

So a bent is like one kind of cross section like almost like a truss. Exactly. Okay. So what is what is in between each bend inside of your walls? Is it like is it a sip Is it like, like, how do you attach your interior walls between those timber frames? And what kind of insulation is in there?

Edwin Bobrycki 10:15

Sorry, this is a little sidetrack. So I'm building another timberframe tiny home with a team right now. And we're using SIPs. So SIP paneling goes really nicely with timber framing, they work hand in hand really nicely together. And you can use like a lighter set that doesn't have as many studs in it. So we do like how that pairs. When we built ours, however, we couldn't afford that. Like we were on a really tight budget. And so we ended up going a more affordable route, in which case, I sheared everything so the whole frame was up, and then we sheared it with plywood all the way around. And then we put in studs, like so like she was saying a three by three stud for like a header of the door, that tied this beam, this vertical post to that vertical post, across, and then studs coming down. And then we pack insulation, which we just use insulation board and glue. So everything's very, like sheared and tied in and tight together.

Ethan Waldman 11:16

Interesting. Okay, so it's, it's, sheathed just like a, "normal house". Um, do you need to sheathe the timber frame? Like? Or does it have its own shear rigidity without sheathing?

Edwin Bobrycki 11:32

It definitely has a lot more shear naturally built into it, especially the way we did it with our - we tied in, you know, big plates that go around, too. So there's a lot of that naturally already. But yeah, you definitely need some sort of, you know, plywood shear level as well to really stick it all together.

Ethan Waldman 11:53

Got it.

Clara Bobrycki 11:53

Also, the plywood helps a lot with tying in the roofing and everything else we needed to tie into the house and having that we Yeah, that was very helpful.

Edwin Bobrycki 12:05

In like the sheet rock afterward.

Clara Bobrycki 12:07

And the sheet rock. Yeah, that was the main thing.

Edwin Bobrycki 12:09

Yeah, we went with like, quarter inch sheet rock on everything. And we were able to just like glue the sheet rock I looked up, because usually you screw sheet rock in. And because I knew we were moving in and everything. I was curious if anybody glued sheet rock, and I looked it up. And sure enough, yeah, you can glue sheet rock too. So we actually did a combination of glue, and screws for sheet rock. And, and then Clara came through and mud and did the skip trowel method on everything, which was just for us. We really liked that combination of like, you know, at the skip trowel, in contrast with the beams kind of pair well together.

Ethan Waldman 12:47

Nice. Yeah. And I encourage everyone who's listening to go to the show notes page for this episode, there'll be lots of pictures, and I'll give that address at the end. And what is the what's the overall length and width of the house? and How heavy is your trailer? Or like what weight rating is your trailer?

Edwin Bobrycki 13:09

Yeah, so the the trailer itself is 24 feet and it's a on a standard hitch. So it's not a gooseneck and it's eight feet - well, I mean, our whole house is eight and a half feet wide. Okay, so we went those are the those are the limits in California. Is that eight and a half feet.

Ethan Waldman 13:30

And is it two two axles or three?

Edwin Bobrycki 13:33

Two axles. The trailers rated to 14,000 pounds.

Ethan Waldman 13:36

Okay. And have you ever had it had the house weighed?

Edwin Bobrycki 13:40

We never did we really wanted to actually. And yeah, I did. We did a lot of things to make the house lighter. And, and when we towed it over here, we had to go up hills, down hills and through some bumpy roads and that I mean, we we pulled it with a one time truck, pickup truck, but there was zero issues that we could see.

Ethan Waldman 14:03

Great. So let's, I want to back up and start from the start. Because I know that you know you've mentioned milling your own lumber. And I want to ask you about that process. Because, you know, for most of us who are DIY building a house, it still feels like a daunting task, but we you know, we take our truck down to the lumber yard and we order you know, we order sticks, we order studs and sheathing and we can start building if we have a plan but but you too, started by chopping down trees, right?

Clara Bobrycki 14:43

Yeah, so the way we kind of got introduced to milling was a really good friend of ours in 2015, lost his house to a fire up here in Northern California. And we reached out to him because we knew he was preparing to rebuild this house. So we kind of made this agreement that he was going to teach us how to build and and then we in turn would help him rebuild his house. So the main thing was for his house, he was also doing timber framing. So that's how we got introduced to timber framing in the first place. And in order to do the post and beams that he required for his house, he needed to purchase a mill for himself. And because of insurance from the fire, he was able to get a brand new Wood-Mizer mill. And so it was a very cool hydraulic mill to work with. It wasn't your standard mill where you had to roll everything by hand, it was a really nice mill. So we we helped his built his house, and we learned how to mill on through that. And then for our beams, we were pretty seasoned Millers by that point. So just, yeah, using the tractor to get the logs and milling, it was actually pretty straightforward by that point.

Ethan Waldman 15:52

So what does the mill actually do your feeding in a log that you've, you've stripped the branches off, but the bark is still on it, right?

Clara Bobrycki 16:02

Mm hmm.

Ethan Waldman 16:03

And so like, then what does it do?

Clara Bobrycki 16:06

Yeah, so basically, there's a big circular blade at the beginning, and it's actually on a hydraulic system. So you're able to push this blade forward and backwards. And attached to this blade, there's actually water that feeds onto the blade to help keep it cool. So there's this carriage that moves forward. And basically, this circular blade is like a monstrous blade and just cuts right through the log, and you're able to create the measurement that you'd like to cut. So there's a ruler on the carriage that can go up, down and forward. And so basically, you just start by shaving the bark off, you just take first this big layer of bark, go all the way through the log, then you take that bark layer off, and then you're able to rotate the log, and then you just kind of keep shaving down until you get a cant, which is the usable part of the tree. And then from there, you're able to get, dive into the measurements you'd like for your posts and planks and everything that you need.

Ethan Waldman 17:02

So what dimensions are your posts?

Clara Bobrycki 17:06

They're all five by fives. So the cedar posts, and because we were going tiny, those measurements were able to work for us and the cedar was very light. So for us it's actually pretty perfect dimensions.

Edwin Bobrycki 17:20

Yeah, I think we were we it was trial and error to find out what size we wanted. But this ended up being just about right. And it's funny because if we went we couldn't buy true five by five, so we couldn't buy true by five by fives. But since we had access to our own lumber, we're like, oh, we can make a whatever we want. Let's Yeah, let's make it this.

Ethan Waldman 17:43

That's awesome. And they they're just beautiful to the way that I've noticed. Like, you almost carved some details into them. I don't know what they're called. But up by the peak of the of the ceiling. There are these little diagonal pieces that have like a nice kind of tapered thing going on. I don't know what the right word is.

Clara Bobrycki 18:06

the arch bracing.

Ethan Waldman 18:07

Arch bracing. Okay.

Clara Bobrycki 18:09

Yeah, totally. Yeah, Edwin, I have to give props to Edwin, he spent a lot of time on SketchUp, designing different layouts for the beams. And this one definitely caught our eye when he made it. We're both really excited about this specific design.

Ethan Waldman 18:25

Nice. So so once you mill those beams, so we've got, you know, we've taken our cedar logs, we've shaved the bark off, and we've cut them down to the size that we want. Can you just start using them right away? Or do they need to do they need to care or dry or something?

Edwin Bobrycki 18:44

Yeah, so we definitely drive it's always nicer to work with dried material. But there is another advantage with timberframe. When you when you tie the beams with the wood together, you can work with wet wood. And the reason is once you tie those beams together, not only are they helping keeping that beam from twisting, if they do start to dry and twist a little bit. It's all wood working with wood on itself. So though the joints can actually lock in the whole structure can become a little more tight and a little stronger. Right and if you have like a wooden peg going through, and then this one starts to shrink, and this one shrinks a little bit that peg will actually get tighter over time if you work if you started with wet wood.

Ethan Waldman 19:26

Very cool. So it actually it's a structure that gets stronger over time instead of weaker.

Unknown Speaker 19:30

Uh huh.

Ethan Waldman 19:32

Yeah. Is there like a significant like settling in process like, were you worried that like drywall might crack while this happens or is it?

Edwin Bobrycki 19:42

Yeah, my biggest concern was when we put the ridge beam, the ridge beam, we put in soaking wet like we have all of our cedar the cedar already dries really fast. And that's another thing to keep in mind. No, so sorry, just just our situation. We're not actually cutting down and none of the trees that we cut down are live. They're all already dead from the fire, they got burned out, but, but the lumber inside of them is still good. So they're just standing black trees. And I don't know if a lot of people realize that we didn't realize that how good all of that lumber is still. So these trees need to come down anyway. So we Yeah, so and the land that were worked with our friend and our family friend all on Deb, and we helped build their barn for in trade. They had like 200 250 acres out here in the woods. And they've just been making that they're an older couple, and they've been making their lives out here for like the last 30 years. Wow. So it was just a really, yeah, special arrangement that we got to make with them, and that we just happen to know them. And it worked out like that, when we first decided to make a tiny home, you know, I just figured we it was going to be a stick frame. I didn't know any of this was going to be possible. But this is just kind of how that opportunity lined up for us. So we kind of naturally fell into this without knowing it was coming. But

sorry, where was I? So yeah, so as far as the work, though, a lot of people underestimate.

When you cut down a tree, you have to there's a whole process to that too, right? First of all, you have to know what you're doing. And then cutting down dead trees is actually a little bit more dangerous than live trees, because you don't know, if there's a lack of integrity in the wood itself, did some fire actually make it in? Is it weak in there is it going to buckle on you is the top gonna break and fall on you, you know, because now it's dead, it's been dead for a while. So there's a little bit more concern that way when you're cutting the dead trees, and then but then you cut them. And then you have to do this process called bucking right, once you go down the tree and you take down all of the branches they're sticking out. So you get them right down to the the log itself. And then, you know, measure out how much of that log Do you want, our mail can only cut up to 20 feet max. So you know, the longest thing you're going to do is 20 feet. But you know, you might be up in a hill and you don't necessarily want a 20 foot log because you got to bring that down to the road, get it onto your tractor and get that tractor. You know, a lot of times we're carrying them horizontally, so a 20 foot log isn't practical to go back up the road and get to the mill. So for us like we actually I think our go to length was like more like 11 feet because it was very quick and practical. We could get two or three logs out of one tree pretty easily. But yeah, it's just funny that wasn't that's a process that I feel like, even we miss sometimes when we're trying to like, decide what the value of the lumber that we're making is like, a lot of times we forget all of that work it took to go out, cut the tree down a bucket and then get it to the mill just to get started.

Ethan Waldman 22:46

Yeah, how long did that whole process take? Like, how long were you milling lumber? before you started, actually, you know, assembling and carving those joints and putting up the frame.

Clara Bobrycki 23:03

We did all the beams first. So we cut all of our beams and then we let them sit dry for a few months before we actually started working with them.

Edwin Bobrycki 23:15

Yeah, it's hard to tell to you because the main the main work that we were doing for Paul and Deb, with their barn to help them build their barn was mill for them to so we milled all those beams. So like between Claire and I, I mean we've probably milled over 100 trees by now.

Clara Bobrycki 23:31

So I kind of got mixed in there. We basically nailed on our free time. And then we went back to working with them helping them. Yeah.

Edwin Bobrycki 23:41

But yeah, it was it was a bit of a process. But I mean, we're a lot quicker at it. Now. Like I said, I'm building another one right now with a small team of carpenters. And we're we're just flying this time comparatively. I mean, when Claire and I built ours, it was like it was new. It was just us really I mean, our friends, we get friends to come help us here and there. But it was mostly just us trying to like, wade through the water, not sure what we were doing. And then we only had our weekends to work. So it definitely dragged out and we were working on it.

Ethan Waldman 24:11

Yeah. So how long did the overall build take start to finish? About three years?

Edwin Bobrycki 24:17

Hmm, no, if you start like,

Clara Bobrycki 24:20

well, the actual building, we always kind of go back and forth on this. So we were dreaming up for a good year.

Edwin Bobrycki 24:30

Yeah, I just I just actually did the

Unknown Speaker 24:32

timing you can ask me.

Edwin Bobrycki 24:34

I look back and it's like we we first started milling for our tiny home and then to the time we were done was a little less than two years.

Ethan Waldman 24:44

Wow. So no, I mean, not terrible. Not much. That's about as long as it takes like a DIY build if you're only working weekends too, but it sounds like you put in some serious sweat equity, both in both in the milling and then also on the I'm curious, like, when you're actually erecting the frame, you know, these beams even though they are cedar, I'm sure they're still pretty darn heavy. Do you have to use like a crane or a tractor? Or like, Is there some way that the two of you were able to, like lift these beams into place?

Edwin Bobrycki 25:18

Yeah, we we use a lot of heavy equipment. It's called our friends. Our friends and family, we enlisted them out here. And for, like, the raising for a timber frame is considered a pretty special event, right? Because you've done all this work prior, you've made all these beams. And then standing up the frame. It's just a really pretty and beautiful thing to look at. And see you see all your hard work. And it's just this fun kind of camaraderie of a day. And it only takes a day to stand it all up. Right? So you've been working for many, many, many days to get to this point. And then like suddenly, in one day, it's all up and you're looking at your finished work.

Unknown Speaker 25:59

Yeah, we had a big

Clara Bobrycki 26:01

frame raising party we invited Edwin sister Edwin's two best friends and then our mentor Paul, and we had Edwin's family come out. So this big event, we did a barbecue for everyone. And then so we assembled the bench first we tied everything together, and then we each then they actually welded plates onto the trailer. And then we went one by one. And then all of us. Yeah, would hold the beams until one person would tie them into the trailer. And then we did a big group photo afterwards was really fun. It's very satisfying. To get the frame finally on the trailer.

Ethan Waldman 26:37

I'll bet and actually that's I was exactly what I was going to ask you about next the the attachment of the frame to the trailer? And then you know, do you just frame like a traditional floor with you know, two by four or two by six joists in between the two walls that are attached to the trailer? Yeah,

Clara Bobrycki 26:59

we actually tie it so I wasn't sure. How did you how do we tie in the

Ethan Waldman 27:05

Yeah, how do you? How did you tie the beans to the trailer is the first question. And the second question is, how does that interact with with the floor? Oh, gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 27:14

Yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 27:16


Edwin Bobrycki 27:17

it's funny, a lot of this is actually kind of fresh, because I'm working on putting together a time lapse video of our old build, but we put the beams in before we did anything with the trailer floor, except we did weld metal brackets, like there was saying, just basically angle iron. And so each post just fit perfectly in its own little pocket. So they could actually, once we fit them in, it was really satisfying. It's like a good chunk. And then the whole band gets locked in and you could let it go. I mean, we were watching it, of course. And then we do these tie downs that screw into the backside of the post. And then it's a bolt that drives down into a hole into the angle iron that we made in it, it pulls that all bent and post down and basically permanently fixes it down into the trailer.

Ethan Waldman 28:12

Got it? And then how you know because typically, like in stick framing, you know, you you frame a floor and then the walls attached to that floor. But it sounds like your walls go all the way down to the trailer. And then the floor is kind of in between them.

Clara Bobrycki 28:31

Yeah, we basically we had two is two by threes three by threes, that we screwed into two by three two by threes that we screwed into the trailer to act as like almost the ties for the rest of the posts that were the three by threes that would go across. So we did a good handful of two by threes when going across and from there we put the plywood on top of that and then then insulation and another level of plywood. We did a lot of insulating and ply wooding throughout this whole thing.

Edwin Bobrycki 29:03

Yeah, we bought our trailer from a tiny house company. Joshua at Tiny House Basics. And our trailer is a bed to I guess the metal choice of the trailer that go across. We we bought a drop down. They were they started three inches lower. So we could do our flashing and our flooring on top. Whereas a lot of people will come and flash the bottom of their choice underneath. But our research of that looked like that was kind of a nightmare for a lot of people. So we chose to go a little easier route. Nice.

Ethan Waldman 29:42

I guess you I'm sure you've learned a ton through the process. But are there some things that you would do differently? Were you to build your tiny house again?

Clara Bobrycki 29:54

That's a dangerous slippery slope. We start going there. But yeah, we think about this. I'm times are kind of hard now because living in it, we just love it so much. But the build process, if we could have done things differently, in an ideal world, we would have had enough savings. So we didn't have to work while we were building the home. And that really was a big, that would have been a big time saver for us if we had enough just to buy our own time. So we didn't have to, like, you know, make money for bills and that kind of thing. But that being said, do you have any?

Edwin Bobrycki 30:27

Yeah, work? Yeah, working on the weekends, definitely dragged the whole thing out. But um, one thing that's funny about, yeah, what we would do differently is, you know, we're halfway through. So after we built this, my best friends are also carpenters, they helped with the build a lot too. And basically, we all got together and we're like, Hey, you know, people are interested in this, we should try to build another one and sell it. So we're halfway through that second build. And it's all about now implementing the things I would do differently. One thing, for instance, is like we have SIP panels that we're using, and then some of the layout or making like a permanent stairway up into the bed. I mean, it's kind of interesting, because we wouldn't actually change our the way our stairs work because like, even this morning, Clara did like yoga in this eight by eight, we have like an eight by eight dedicated floor space in this tiny, which was like a really, at the time, it felt like a really silly endeavor to like, reserve a whole blank space of floor basically inside already small space. But that ended up being so functional for like the way our long five foot drawers pull out and getting to our drawers. And then we can pull the ladder out and tuck it away. It just became such a multifunction, very practical space, it makes living in here, extremely functional. And it was funny in that when we were first designing it, I was just like, Oh, no, this is not practical at all. Turns out -

Clara Bobrycki 32:02

In short, we wouldn't change our layout we would change mostly how, how long if we had the savings that would have been ideal, but as far as our layout and everything like that we're really happy with how that turned out.

Ethan Waldman 32:18

Awesome. Well, I'm glad to hear that it's I think compared to other tiny house dwellers, you have you've relatively low regrets because everyone has regrets.

Clara Bobrycki 32:26

Yeah, yeah, we regret how much our solar costs that's also been we are just hitting getting hit with living off grid and we just had no idea the costs that were going to go into our solar system and so producing power for our tiny home.

Ethan Waldman 32:42

Yeah, why don't we talk about you know, your the other systems in the house because you live in completely off grid right?

Clara Bobrycki 32:49

Mm hmm. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 32:51

Yeah. So let's start like so. You are on solar power and is that you know, what, what do you need to power with that solar power?Are you using that for for cooking and cooling and heating or do you have other other systems?

Clara Bobrycki 33:06

We're using our power right now for our lights and for the fan in the bathroom and we also have an induction cooktop that we could use, but quickly we realized that we were going to need to add supplemental - we needed to add propane to our cooking setup because the induction cooktop is taking a lot of solar. So right now we use the solar for our fan in the house as well we have a big swamp cooler. So those are the main things that we use our power for our fridge runs off of direct current from the solar panels. And we have a propane heater and we have a composting toilet

Edwin Bobrycki 33:50

Yeah, so I think what we kind of rushed in here so we only have a pair of 300 watt panels that are powering our house our main function of course is the lights and then when we first moved in, we thought we could get away with just that those panels and for deep sell 100 amp hour batteries to get away with cooking on the induction cooktop but that turned out that was too taxing. So we ended up installing a propane cooktop underneath that slides out as a alternate form. So we still actually have our induction so if we want to we cannot have like five burners to cook on. We really needed it.

Ethan Waldman 34:26

Nice and what are you doing for water?

Clara Bobrycki 34:30

That's been a fun one. So um, we since we're completely off grid we were, like Edwin said, we rushed in here and we needed to kind of figure out a water system right away. So the way we did that was we got a 300 gallon

Edwin Bobrycki 34:44


Clara Bobrycki 34:44

Sorry, 250 gallon tank right outside the house. And we've been trucking all of our water in from our friends. Well, friend Paul and Deb have been letting us get water from them. But this winter we're hoping to tie in to this creek that runs during the rainy season, so there's a creek right outside our house that that we're hoping to send piping down into. And then we're going to pull water from there have a filtration system. And then ideally, we'll have all the shower water and dish water that we could possibly use.

Edwin Bobrycki 35:18

Right? This is one of the few properties in the whole area that actually has water rights to the creek. So that's a really special thing. So trying to utilize that in some way would be really cool.

Ethan Waldman 35:28

Cool. And where you are, are you going to experience freezing temperatures in the winter? Are you pretty comfortable with like, the water tank outside?

Clara Bobrycki 35:42

So we live in a pretty mild winter climate. It's not, we maybe get snow once a year. So it's, it definitely drops down. Like when we try it first try to use water in the morning, I'll try to do dishes and I just the water heater doesn't kick on right away. So it's really, really cold water. And, um, but yeah, we should be fine. We'll be interested to see how this winter is. We've already spent half a winner here during this lifestyle. Yeah, well, you know.

Ethan Waldman 36:13

Nice. Yeah. So how long have you been living in the house now?

Clara Bobrycki 36:17

So we moved in, we started the move in process in January. So we move the house officially in December, end of November, December of last year. So almost, we've almost had the house here on this property for a year. And then we kind of officially moved in completely in February. And then lockdown happened. So it's a very convenient time to be first moving in.

Ethan Waldman 36:44

Got in right in the nick of time.

Clara Bobrycki 36:46

Mm hmm. Exactly

Edwin Bobrycki 36:48

Yeah, we got the mandate. Everyone go isolate. And we're like, we're already doing it.

Clara Bobrycki 36:53

Can do.

Ethan Waldman 36:54

Yeah, no problem. And so we were chatting a little bit in the pre interview. But um, you know, one, one question that people are always asking, and just always interesting to hear about is, you know, how did you find your parking spot in the land?

Edwin Bobrycki 37:13

This was actually really fun. We just realized this, a friend kind of made this point. So one of the drags when we were building our house like, well, when we first have the tiny, tiny home dream and to start building, we both like did like one of those like dream boards kind of type thing and individually, just to see where we both that and we both concluded that we wanted to live in a tiny home, in like a meadow surrounded by trees were pretty clear. Like That was our ideal setup. But we didn't know how we were going to get to that point, we just knew the first start, which was how we were going to get started on the bill. And then the tiny home build ended up taking way longer than we expected. You know, we thought by the time we set out to do it, we'd be done in a year. And like Claire was saying, once we had the commitment to do it, it ended up being like three years later before we were actually in it. And a friend just pointed out the other day, though, that if it hadn't taken that long the opportunity for this property, which was a spontaneous thing that basically became available right when the build finished for us showed up. And it was just a basically a coincidence.

Clara Bobrycki 38:22

Yeah, we had our friend Paul and Deb - goes back to them, they really set us up for success. And they had a friend that lived about 10 minutes from their property, everyone in this area knows their neighbors. It's kind of one of those types of small, very small rural town type community which is really nice. This couple that own this property the husband passed away unfortunately but so the woman the wife, she wanted this property to go to someone who would take care of it. And during that time, there was a lot of pot growers up here. So she really was adamant didn't really want to go to a pot grow. So she went to our friend Paul and said Hey, would you be able to buy this property from us and he went through with that because he's trying to conserve the natural land and take care of the land he was in a position to do that. So we bought the property from them kind of with us and a couple of their friends in mind. So this is about 200 acres of land and its parcel So actually we have Edwin SR is actually looking at potentially moving into the land next to us next to us which is kind of exciting. But this is just a really gorgeous little piece of grant land and and actually got spared from the fire which is kind of cool because the man who own this prior had a lot of goats and so the goats are going around and just grazing the heck out of this property and made it look really beautiful and in turn help save a lot of the trees from the from the fire.

Ethan Waldman 39:54

All right, one for the goats.

Clara Bobrycki 39:58

Goats, man.

Edwin Bobrycki 39:59

We often like to make a joke of like, how, how good of a worker are you? Like, what is your What is your weight and goats? Like how many goats are you worth? Like, can you do as much work and grazing and like clearing brush and trees as like five goats? You know,

Ethan Waldman 40:14

Are the goats still around?

Clara Bobrycki 40:16

Unfortunately, no, they sold them when they sold the property, but we're definitely looking at fencing. There's a lot of fencing that got kind of impacted by the fire. So we're our plan is to fix the rest of the fencing. And then I really want to have baby goats. And that's one of my life goals is to be the goat queen.

Ethan Waldman 40:37

The goat queen in the tiny house?

Clara Bobrycki 40:39

Oh, yeah. dreams?

Ethan Waldman 40:43

Well, one thing that I like to ask all my guests is, what are two or three resources - so that could be like books or YouTube channels, or, you know, any resources - that helped you on Your Tiny House journey that you'd like to share with our listeners?

Clara Bobrycki 41:03

Um, for me, personally, I would say YouTube is a great resource. We didn't have any, we have a timber frame book on how to timberframe. But I would say the best resource we had access accessible to us was YouTube. So I literally just watched a video on video on video and took notes on all the houses that I liked, and what I liked about them. And then basically, I consolidated all of those aspects to bring into our build. And then also things that I didn't want to bring into our build. So there's a lot of great Tiny Home tours to get a lot from on YouTube.

Edwin Bobrycki 41:42

Yeah, yeah, one of our channels that will just wrap out was Jenna's channel, Tiny House Giant Journey. And there was a couple videos that we watched on her channel that we really liked. And then it was fun, too, because they just, she just interviewed us recently. So looks like we're going to be featured on their channel in about a month or so. But, um, that was a fun workaround, because we used what was that one video of hers that it's called "Why I Hate Living In A Tiny House" or something.

Clara Bobrycki 42:12

It's something about what the main drawback of living in a tiny home and she was our inspiration for putting a backdoor on our house. And it's a little things like that. I mean, she she talked about how it was really convenient to have a space to come into after working a long day. So yeah, we basically just took a lot of things we enjoyed from other houses, and then that would be the best resource in our opinion.

Edwin Bobrycki 42:36

But Clara and I now have just started a website and a blog where we're sharing our personal experience. I think that's always nice. I think that's some of it. Because a lot of what we see online even is like the glamour of the tiny home living. And I think one of the most valuable things if somebody's actually taking it on is more like okay, let's get past the glamour part. And let's get into the real what was like unpleasant. What was where did you snap? Where were the snafus? Where did you hit a wall and what was really hard. And those real things, I think are actually some of the most invaluable things when somebody is taking on themselves, you know?

Clara Bobrycki 43:17

Yeah, so tinyhomewildadventures.com awesome.

Ethan Waldman 43:20

Yeah. And people should check that out. I'll put a link to it on the show notes page as well. So well, Edwin, and Clara bricky, thank you so much for being a guest on the show. I know I really pressed you for for technical details, but I think people are gonna really love hearing about it. And I'm sure you're gonna get questions. So be ready. Yeah, bring them on. Yeah,

Edwin Bobrycki 43:43

Ethan, I just wanted to say thank you for what you do. One of the special things that I did not see coming when building a tiny home was kind of like this community that you enter into. And I just feel like a lot of camaraderie towards you. You know, you've built your own home, you lived in it with your wife for a while. So it's there's just a sense of camaraderie there. And I feel like the community of tiny home goers and livers, liver?

Clara Bobrycki 44:14

People. Haha. It's early here.

Edwin Bobrycki 44:16

Yeah. But anyway, I just really feel like the community is just a really special group of people and everyone that has gone tiny and that we've met so far. It's just been it's been a real pleasure. And it just feels really special to be considered a part of that group in some way.

Ethan Waldman 44:33

Awesome. Well, so yeah, welcome to the club.

Clara Bobrycki 44:36

Thank you! It's official.

Ethan Waldman 44:41

Thank you so much to Clara and Edwin Bobrycki for being guests on the show today. You can find the show notes including links to their website and Instagram, and lots of gorgeous photos of their timberframe tiny home at thetinyhouse.net/140. Again, that's the tiny house dotnet slash 140 Also, don't forget to pick up your copy of Color Me tiny, my signature tiny house coloring book and you can still get it in time for the holidays because it ships fast and free from Amazon. To learn more and order your copy for just 999 or visit the tiny house dotnet slash color. Again, that's the tiny house dotnet slash color or just search Color Me tiny on Amazon. And well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the tiny house lifestyle podcast.

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More Photos:

Raising the walls took one day
Putting on the roof
The build took about 3 years
They wouldn't change the layout of the house
What a cute couple

Thanks to the goats, their land was mostly safe from the wildfires in Northern California

Some purists will criticize the metal

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